Local News

Immigration charges dropped against Raleigh church members

Posted September 18, 2012

— The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ended its attempt to deport 22 members of a Raleigh church, supporters of the group said Tuesday.

Members of the Iglesia Buen Pastor Church were returning from a religious event in Texas in April 2011 when U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents stopped their vans in Louisiana. The group was detained for hours before being allowed to return to North Carolina the following day.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represents the church members, called the incident an act of racial profiling and alleged that the church members' civil rights had been violated.

“This case was a long shot; we had justice on our side but not the law," Elizabeth Simpson, an attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said in a statement Tuesday. "We did not consider giving up for a minute, and the lives of 22 individuals have been fundamentally changed because of that. They can imagine their futures now.”

Simpson said the cases were dropped against the church members under a policy DHS has followed in recent months giving officials discretion to administratively close immigration cases of people in deportation proceedings if they don't pose a public safety risk, have been in the U.S. for a number of years and have filed civil rights claims against the department.

“When I heard the news that our case was administratively closed, I prayed with my family in thanks to God," church member Jorge Calderon said in a statement. "We were haunted by what happened. The uncertainty of our future brought emotional stress into our lives, especially for my children. Their friends, their school and their lives are here, and I could not tell them whether we would have to leave.”


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  • Ripcord Sep 20, 2012

    "They are hard workers, good people, nice neighbors and only want what we have as Americans....an opportunity." - atheistswillrule

    If I break into your house a stake a claim in your spare bedroom using all of the excuses you gave above will that be OK with you? Can I stay? Or will you have me thrown out?

  • tarheelgrad1998 Sep 20, 2012

    Um, are they here legally or not? If they're illegal, they should be deported. Period, end of story.

    Would we not arrest someone for stealing bread if they were poor? No tickets for speeding if you're late?

    Immigration needs to do their job, or just cut the whole department and save the funds.

  • storchheim Sep 20, 2012

    "Why do we make exceptions for illegal Mexican immigrants??? " trianglerelic

    Race discrimination. No other reason.

  • edbuck51 Sep 20, 2012

    85 % of illegals in this country come from Mexico, was it profiling or just good police work?

  • msmithua93 Sep 20, 2012

    Psalm 91:9-11 If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge,then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.... Just saying...You KNOW they were praying. www.takeajourney.org

  • piene2 Sep 20, 2012

    "Do you know just how incredibly STUPID you sound? To start off with ,these people came here to have a better life, not to take anything away from you. Secondly, they are poor to begin with, how do you plan on charging them " hundreds of thousands of dollars"? What a totally ignorant statement. Like it or not, the Latino community is here and growing by scores every minute. They are hard workers, good people, nice neighbors and only want what we have as Americans....an opportunity. I wonder what sardine barge your ancestors stowed away on?

    Oh, I do not know. I would say that is about par for the Repubumpkin intellect. You must not expect too much from them. That way you will not be disappointed by the inevitable.

  • working for deadbeats Sep 20, 2012

    A van full of people coming across the border is reason enough to stop them.

  • Stringbean Sep 20, 2012

    " we had justice on our side but not the law," What ????? What is happening to our country ? !!!!!!!!! We dont follow the Law anymore ??

  • pat7 Sep 20, 2012

    Nice job for protecting America, You can break the law, and suck from the system and still be a hero WoW only in America ,Whats this country turning into

  • seu183 Sep 20, 2012

    What Civil Rights?